THE MOTHER of a 10-year-old girl who vanished a month ago is hoping that her alleged abductor has not hurt her.
Damaries Gumede of Rondebult, Ekurhuleni, vanished with her neighbour, Cristina Michel, who the family knew as Lele, on January 22.
Her family fears Michel smuggled Damaries into Mozambique.
Damaries' mother, Johanna Gumede, told Sowetan: "I pray every day that Lele has not hurt my daughter and that she will bring her home safely."
Gumede said the family had heard that Michel had allegedly abducted children before.
"They said she would disappear for weeks and introduce them to her lovers as her own and eventually return them to their parents," she said.
Gumede saw her daughter for the last time when Michel fetched her from her workplace in Germiston to braid her hair last month.
Damaries was reported missing the following day when Michel failed to bring her home.
"My eldest daughter and I immediately left for Mozambique when we heard from Michel's mother that she had arrived there with a girl that matches Damaries' description," Gumede said.
She said the three weeks she spent in Hulene, Mozambique, were frustrating and drained her of energy.
"After weeks of searching without success I fell ill. I couldn't keep food down and I felt dizzy all the time. I felt helpless and weak."
Gumede said the Mozambican police had searched for Michel's mother but were taken to the wrong address.
She said her decision to return to South Africa last week had been difficult.
"I want her to find me at home, healthy and strong, when she eventually returns," Gumede said.
She said she was worried about her daughter's wellbeing.
"I think about what she must be going through. I agonise about whether she has enough to eat or has contracted some disease."
Germiston police station investigating officer Captain Themba Vezi said the police had sought the help of Interpol.
The family met Mozambican consulate officials in Johannesburg last week and gave them photographs of the missing child as well as those of her alleged abductor.